Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review - The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas

The Flower ReaderTitle: The Flower Reader
Author: Elizabeth Loupas
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 408
Published: April 3rd 2012 by NAL Trade 
ISBN: 9780451235817
Source: Sent in exchange for honest review

Description: Rinette Leslie of Granmuir has the ancient gift of divining the future in flowers, but her gift cannot prepare her for the turmoil that comes when the dying queen regent entrusts her with a casket full of Scotland's darkest secrets. On the very day she means to deliver it to newly crowned Mary, Queen of Scots, Rinette's husband is brutally assassinated.  Devastated, Rinette demands justice before she will surrender the casket, but she is surrounded by ruthless men who will do anything to possess it. In the end, the flowers are all she can trust-and only the flowers will lead her safely home to Granmuir.

I Give This ...

There's a few reasons this book peaked my interest.  First off, I've never heard divining the future through flowers.  It completely intrigued me.  Second, I've read a lot about Mary, Queen of Scots.  But, it's always been from the English point of view.   Third, I loved Elizabeth Loupas' first book, so I had high hopes for this one.  Needless to say, my expectations might have been a little high.  It did not fail me.

I loved Rinette from the opening pages.  She understands the complications of being someone of noble birth, but she longs to be away from the center of all the drama.  She knows her hearts desire.  But, life is not always kind and that future is ripped from her before it barely begins.  After that, she makes it her new mission to  play the games of the court to figure out who killed her husband and why.

The mystery aspect of this story I was not expecting.  One of the most frustrating aspects of historical fiction is often the sheer volume of character.  That actually works to the advantage in this story because I honestly had no clue who it was.  But, I did find "his" association with a certain group of people to be absolutely fascinating.  Solving a crime like this would be difficulty in any time period.  But, I think it might have especially trying in this one and add in the fact that Rinette is a women.  It doesn't exactly open doors.

Ienjoyed the slow romance as well.  I was expecting it with the characters, but I loved the way it played out.  I felt sorry for Rinette in the fact that she happens to fall in love with people who may no always have her best interests at heart (although, I think that changed in the end).

I was reminded greatly in this book at how hard it was to be a women in this time period.  Rinette is constantly being made to feel inferior.  Those around her are always trying to bend and break her.  She's rare in the fact that she owns property, but it wouldn't take much for that to be stripped from her.   She can be forced to marry, her children taken from her, and anything else that might define her as a person.  It was really frustrating to me. 

A great historical fiction.  I'll add Elizabeth Loupas to my must read list!  (I love that fact the both her books have been set in different countries.  Were will she go next?)


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